Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Pedal strikes

Pedal strikes occur when you are pedalling through a turn.

You need to be going at a pretty good clip, you need to be pedalling or to have the pedal at its lowest reach, and the turn needs to be sharp enough so that the bike leans to the point where your pedal strikes the ground on its rotation.

That happened TWICE on the P2 loop this morning.

What is a pedal strike like?

Well, each time it instantly lit up my neurons in a way that I can only describe as both unwelcome and scary.

Fortunately that's all that happened.

My fear is that the pedal could lift the bike when it hits the ground (in this case concrete) throwing it off balance and causing a crash.

That has never happened to me, thank heavens, so I can only imagine what that crash would be like. But it would be in a turn, at a pretty brisk speed. It makes me cringe thinking about it.

Of course the prudent things to do would be a) to slow down, b) make sure that the pedal inside the turn is fully raised, in this case, it's a right-hand curve, so it's the right-hand pedal, and c) watch those tight corners.

I suspect that the actual risk of a crash is less than I fear. I have seen Vespa motor scooters being ridden at ridiculous speeds along tight and winding roads with showers of sparks when the center stand or side-stand scrapes the pavement. Vespas seem unperturbed and un-inclined to crash.

Speaking of Vespas, I have had my side-stand scrape the ground on a tight left turn. It feels just as awful as a pedal strike.


RichardM said...

Be careful. I’ve known many bicycle riders who have gone down after hitting the pedal on the inside of a turn. Bicycles don’t have the mass to stay upright on even very light strikes.

bocutter ed said...

I remember when I replaced the very old tires on the scoot. First thing I did was scrape the running board ... holy puch, it grips again.

David Masse said...

Richard, thanks for stopping by, it's truly appreciated.

Thanks as well for that insight. Now I know that I need to take that very seriously.

My wife and I were in France in the fall. Of all the crazy things we were touring a 10 km network of caves used by a winery, on bicycles. Susan tried to fiddle with her head lamp that the winery had placed on our handlebars, lost control, crashed and fractured her collar bone. She is still in physio therapy and the accident happened on October 2nd, though almost fully recovered, thank heavens.

Your advice is taken to heart.

Thank you.

David Masse said...

Ed, that Puch is one amazing machine. If it were a human, it would be well into its 102nd year.

bocutter ed said...

Well, it is only 8 years younger than me, so it's getting there.

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